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Middletown launches New Discoveries Geocache Trail, combining activities with prizes

Combining activities with prizes, the Middletown Visitors Bureau is launching its New Discoveries Geocache Trail on July 1.

“We’ve been talking about it for a year, but now is a perfect time,” said Mary Huttlinger, executive director of the Middletown Visitors Bureau. “Things are opening up but some people are still a little reticent about going out. This is something you can do at your leisure, with no set times.”

For those unfamiliar with geocaching, think high-tech treasure hunt with the treasure hunters using a GPS-enabled device to track down their prizes. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

Huttlinger knows firsthand how much fun geocaching can be as she has logged more than 75 caches.

“When I’d travel with my family I was the person telling them to get off at a certain exit because there was a geocache there,” she said, smiling.

Now Huttlinger is on the other side of it, helping plan the geocache trail for others to enjoy.

“We’ve made it easy and easily accessible,” she said. “Our goal is to get people out and about together.”

Hit the trail

The New Discoveries Geocache Trail will, initially, have 10 different caches with locations scattered throughout Middletown. Five additional geocaches will be available later in the summer.

Getting started is easy. Visit www.geocaching.com to sign up for free and download the geocaching app onto your phone. Log in and follow Middletown OH to find the New Discoveries caches.

“We tried to hit points of interest that have historical significance or places that reflect the personality of the community,” Huttlinger said.

While it is called a trail, there is no particular sequence to follow. Geocachers can find one or all 10 of them at their own pace. Parking is available near all of the caches and the sites are stroller and wheelchair accessible.

“We know people probably won’t be traveling as much this summer, so we wanted to give families something fun to do,” Huttlinger said.

Enjoy the payoff

For many, the thrill of the hunt is prize enough, but this geocache trail has real treasures to be found.

Organizers have partnered with John Ferrando of Haute Fusion Glass Studio in Middletown to create 200 collectible coins that will be periodically placed in the caches.

“We are really excited to work with a local artisan,” Huttlinger said. “They are glass art pieces, truly unique.”

There will also be a variety of other locally-inspired prizes to be found from T-shirts to gift cards from Middletown businesses. And, unlike many traditional caches, you don’t need to leave something behind when you discover these treasures.

“We want people to see all that Middletown has to offer and have a great time doing it,” Huttlinger said.

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